The Dark Knight
July 22, 2012
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Saw The Dark Knight Rises yesterday. You should too while it’s in the theaters. It’s gotten mixed reviews, both in the papers as well as from friends. I enjoyed it. It was the most visually stunning of the three. It is not, however, as good as the first two in the trilogy.
The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger as Joker is peerless among the comic book genre of films. That movie gets the “dirty hands” problem spot on, with all of its complexity. Our public officials must operate under the rule of law. But there are also extraordinary times that require them to operate outside of the law and institutions. The issue, to my mind, is not whether officials should ever scrap the law. Necessity requires them to do so at times. (See Lincoln during the Civil War and great leaders during wartime more generally). The issue is whether or not we have chosen our state-persons with the intelligence, leadership skills, and moral authority to bend laws and institutions in ways that will preserve and strengthen them and our way of life.
The Dark Knight operates in the shadows. We doubt until the end whether he is up to the task or whether the Joker is right when he asserts that he and the Dark Knight are the same. In the end Batman rises but does not do so alone. Buoyed by his friends and associates he discovers that Gotham is redeemable and by saving it he saves himself.